Medical workers carry medical equipment to ambulances transferring patients during a fire at the Badim private Hospital in Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, on Thursday night. AFP
Four firefighters were hospitalised after battling the overnight blaze at Badim Hospital and about 90 patients were transferred to other hospitals, according to the fire department. Authorities said that a short circuit in a generator could have sparked the blaze.
The fire broke out at dusk on Thursday at the Badim hospital in the north of Rio, sending medical staff and relatives into a desperate flurry to try to evacuate scores of patients.
"At least 11 people died," the Rio de Janeiro fire department said in a statement, without specifying whether the victims were patients or workers.
"About 90 patients had to be transferred to other medical units."
The blaze was brought under control by 8:00 pm (2300 GMT), and firefighters searched until the early hours of Friday to recover bodies from the scene.
During the evacuation effort, dozens of gurneys and stretchers were taken into surrounding streets as ambulances struggled to get through crowds of curious onlookers to rush the most vulnerable patients to other hospitals.
"I was able to take my mother out of her room and when we got to the fire escape, there were a lot of people running around," lawyer Carlos Otorelo, whose 93-year-old mother is being treated for pneumonia, told the UOL news website.
"It was terrible because the smoke spread very quickly."
Dense black fumes poured out of one side of the hospital, a private facility in the Tijuca neighborhood, as doctors, nurses and volunteers ran inside to rescue patients.
While hospital authorities pointed to a generator fault in the oldest part of the complex as the probable cause of the fire, Rio mayor Marcelo Crivella said he could not rule out sabotage.
"Experts will have to find whether anyone was responsible. I hope I am wrong, but we have to check there was no sabotage, we have to investigate," he told reporters.
Rio has been hit by two major fires in the past year, including when the National Museum was gutted by flames last September, destroying most of its priceless collections.
In February, 10 teenage members of the Flamengo football club were killed in the prefabricated building where they were staying.
Faulty air conditioning systems were the cause of both fires.
Two C-130 Hercules aircraft carrying thousands of liters of water on Sunday began dousing fires devouring chunks of the world's largest rainforest.
The Amazon in South America is the largest, most diverse tropical rainforest on Earth and it is natural that the entire world is worried and angry over the worst blazes in years raging there. It is hugely important that the fires in the Brazilian rainforest, known as the lungs of the planet, be extinguished as quickly
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday he was open to discussing G7 aid for fighting fires in the Amazon if his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron “withdraws insults” made against him.
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According to paramedics, the man’s rapid consumption led to a fatal gas buildup in his body, which starved his liver of oxygen and eventually led to his death.
The Public Prosecution indicated that according to Article 16 of Federal Decree-Law No. 5 of 2012 regarding combating information technology crimes and its amendments, a penalty of imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years and a fine of no less than Dhs250,000 and not more than Dhs500,000, or either of these two penalties for Blackmail or threaten another person to get him to do or abstain from doing an act using a computer network or an information technology means.